In the last 72 hours, 14 persons including 12 militants, a former special police officer and a Territorial Army man were killed in separate operations across Kashmir.
On Sunday five militants, including a 14-year-old boy, Faisal Gulzar, who went missing on April 6, were killed in two overnight encounters in Shopian and Anantnag districts of southern Kashmir.
Three militants including Gulzar were killed in the Reban area of Shopian, from where police also recovered one AK-56 rifle and two pistols. The other militant was identified as Asif Ahmad Ganai, while the identity of the third militant is being ascertained. Two armed forces personnel were injured during this encounter.
According to police, they made several attempts to persuade Gulzar to surrender and even brought his family to the encounter spot. However, police in its statement claimed that other militants ‘didn’t allow him to surrender.’
In another encounter in the Bijbehara area of Anantnag district, also in southern Kashmir, two militants were killed and police claim to have recovered two AK rifles and incriminating material from the spot. They were identified as Tauseef Ahmad Bhat and Aamir Hussain Ganai.
The officials informed that these two militants were involved in the killing of Territorial Army man Saleem Akhoon, who was fired upon in the same area on April 9 and later he succumbed to injuries.
The bodies of all five militants were taken to Handwara of northern Kashmir, around 120 km from the encounter spots and native villages of the slain militants, a routine followed by the police, in wake of Covid-19 pandemic. This has also controlled the funeral gatherings and anti-government processions followed by the encounters. The families of the militants have repeatedly sought the return of the bodies and reiterated that they have the right to bury the dead and conduct the last rituals.
“…All misguided youth who have joined terror ranks should shun the path of violence and return to the mainstream… we would welcome and accept them with open arms,” Inspector General of police, Vijay Kumar reiterated.